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What is printmaking? ‘Printmaking’ refers to the creation of an artistic design by printing from a specially prepared substrate such as a block or plate onto paper, fabric or plastic. This type of graphic art requires an element of originality and encompasses a wide range of printmaking techniques, many of which overlap with regards to the tools and materials required. Multiple images can be produced from the original surface if desired; once the required number of prints has been created the original plate can be destroyed or stored for later use.

In ‘screen printing’ ink is transferred onto a printing substrate using a mesh. The mesh is usually made from synthetic fibres such as polyester or nylon (historically, silk was used) and is fixed to and stretched across a frame at a specific tension, creating a printmaking press.

A stencil is then created by blocking off a negative image of the desired design (the ink will go where the open spaces are). It was popularised in the 1960s by Andy Warhol and his famed Marilyn Diptych and is considered one of the most versatile types of printmaking.

‘Lino printing’ involves a design being cut into linoleum (known as a ‘linocut’) which is then used to print the design. Lino lends itself to intricate designs and the same design can be reprinted multiple times from the same linocut. It came to prominence in the 1940s as a method of illustrating children’s books.

The printmaking tools and materials required for this technique are inexpensive and it is very easy for beginners to learn so tends to be the first technique tried when people develop an interest in how to do printmaking.

As the name suggests, Monoprinting means that the design can only be used once, differing from most other printmaking techniques wherein multiple copies of the same design can be printed.

It is the most artistic of all printmaking techniques as it can combine painting and drawing as well as incorporation of collages, plus variations arising from different pressures applied. It lends itself to spontaneity and no two prints are alike. Monoprints can be created using lithography, etching, woodcut or simply rolling ink and drawing onto paper onto of the ink.

This page is for anyone (including complete beginners, intermediate dabblers and pro printers) to learn about printmaking. Here you will find an overview of different types of printmaking as well as printmaking guides for three different techniques with a handy shopping list of printmaking tools and materials and easy step-by-step instructions. The great thing about printmaking is that it is a relatively inexpensive, fun and rewarding hobby to try!


Types of printmaking covered by Hickman Design


Printmaking techniques include relief printing, etching and screen printing. In relief printing a roller is used to apply ink to the surface of a carved plate printmaking press; lino printing and woodblock printing are types of relief printmaking. Etching involves the use of acid to create the design or dry point etching by scratching a design into a surface . Monoprinting can utilise other printing techniques and simply refers to a single use design. Read on to learn how to do printmaking yourself!

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